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Casting Advice

Opinions Destroy Actors

Opinions Destroy Actors
Everyone has got a f--king opinion. And I'm not talking about sexual orientation preference, fav fetish, or predilection of position. But everyone does have a position. On something.

Ever since I wrote that nasty little monster (aka the book), my blog and this column I've been getting lots of opinions in response to my opinions. Many favorable and supportive. A few less than polite mixed in with ramblings from crazies. Celebs, pols (shorthand for politicians), and others in the spotlight deal with the white glare of unwanted heat with a very, very thick skin. At least publicly. Some better than others.

The rest of us mortals may not fare as well.

Human nature is wired to focus on the negative over the positive. We're drawn to it like injury-claim lawyers are to car crashes on the Jersey Turnpike. Before you shake your head in denial that you yourself are guilty of this non-pleasurable foible, let us take a trip down your memory lane.

How many times have you received praise for a performance or deed, then, in the midst of that praise, there was one critical response? A less-than-enthusiastic kneel at your feet or rejection at drinking the Kool-Aid of your brilliance? Remember that nasty, snide remark made by someone who pleasures in pointing out fault over favor?

Now that your memory is jogged, how much did the one critical comment obscure the plethora of praise? Come on, be honest. It had to irk you a bit. If so, you stepped onto the land mine that is the negative booby-trap.

F--k the negative.

And recall that criticism is a synonym for opinion. Got it? It's not a judgment chiseled in granite. There is no Supreme Court (other than your parents) handing out verdicts of shame upon you. Only you (and yes maybe the parental units) do that. Stop it. Get away from the negative.

And damn the positive.

Praise positive and critics negative cannot be the barometer by which you measure your success or failure. If you focus on either, you'll become lost in a forest of distorted mirrors, forever seeing reflections that are projections provided by others. Smash the mirrors. Govern your own way out of the thicket of thorns and protective pines.

And please, no opinion notes to me that this was an opinion about opinions. Infinity mirrors belong in one of two places; cheap motels with day-rates and South Philly row homes.

And yes, that near-to-final statement was an opinion about having an opinion within an opinion piece.

At least that's my opinion.

Paul Russell's career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. He is the author of "ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor." For more information, please visit

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